"I think it’s a metamorphosis if what you’re becoming is preferable to what you are." Leah Clearwater, through heartbreak and newfound hope.
2. Chapter 2
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For the next few weeks, she hardly sees him at all; she realizes that he is trying to avoid her. Her friends are supportive and agree with her, thinking that she made the right decision. Most of the time, she thinks so, too, even though it hurts her like nothing has ever hurt her before.
There’s just those select moments when she catches a glimpse of Sam’s face, and sees the startlingly real, devastating heartbreak there. Leah wants to believe, in those seconds when she sees his expression, that it is all because of her, before she reminds herself that she doesn’t give a fuck what he feels. It’s hard to remember, sometimes.
Finally, a month passes and she has eaten her share of ice cream and chocolate in private, and her friends have deemed her completely recovered. She thinks that that might be slightly hasty, but she is certainly on the right track.
She hears a knock at the door, and after the third knock, remembers that she is home alone and, sighing, gets up to answer it. She opens it to see Sam standing there, looking more handsome and more muscular than she has ever seen him, somehow – or perhaps that’s just the effect of time spent apart.
“What are you doing here?” she asks. She thinks, belatedly, that it would have been more in keeping with her prior ultimatum to slam the door in her face, but the curiosity she feels is too strong.
He looks earnestly at her. “To just…explain to you, as best I can. I think I owe you that.”
Again, curiosity tempts her to allow him to keep talking, but this time her common sense triumphs. “Really, I think it would be better if you didn’t,” she says curtly. “All you owe me is to leave me alone.” She knows that it’s harsh, but she wants to deliver her point clearly. She has never prized herself on tact.
His voice is low, anguished. “Please, I know I don’t deserve a second chance – at all. But…if you listen to me, I think you’ll understand.” He bites his lip. “And even if you don’t – you’ll at least know all the facts.”
That fleeting, temporary bit of common sense she felt just a few seconds ago eludes her now, as she sighs and moves aside to let him in. For a split-second, he looks panicked, but then takes a deep breath and follows her. “The house won’t suffocate you,” she says dryly.
He gives a nervous laugh, then begins. “I can’t tell you outright,” he states. She rolls her eyes.
“If this is honestly the best you can do,” she says. Her tone is detached, but there is palpable pain beneath the surface. She truly wants him to give her a good reason to take him back – and she hates herself for wishing it.
“On our first date,” he says urgently. “You know, it was during the winter break-”
“I remember our first date,” she says defensively, then her cheeks color as she realizes the connotations. “Somewhat,” she adds. All the hidden emotions begin to quickly resurface at the reminder of their past romance, all of the things she has worked to forget. She tries to suppress the upwelling, but she is unable to do so.
He almost smiles. “Do you remember what I told you then?”
Leah remembers many things about that first date: his minty breath as he kissed her after the movie, the way his lips moved on hers, the way he pulled her to him. She remembers eating dinner before the movie, and worrying that there was spinach in her teeth. She remembers the sex scenes, when she was even more aware than she would normally be of Sam sitting inches away. But she does remember his words, perhaps the most clearly. “I’ll always tell you the truth,” he had said. It was in response to something in the movie – some misunderstanding between the two main characters, probably – but the intensity of the words always struck her.
“I won’t lie to you, Leah,” he says. “But I can’t tell you, as much as I want too – it’s just impossible. But I don’t want to spend my life without you – and there are little things I can tell you. We can figure out how to do it.”
She nods. “We can work through this,” she whispers, believing it.
He breaks into a smile, real and genuine and lovely. She crosses the distance between them and kisses him, hard, fiercely. She has missed the taste of him.
It isn’t the same as before; there is urgency and the already strong desire is magnified, the instincts more animalistic, caused by time spent apart. His hand slides up her shirt, working its way to her breast. She lets him touch her, because she has been yearning for this for the past month.
“Where can we go?” he whispers roughly into her ear.
“No one’s home,” she replies, gripping him too tightly. She will never let him go, not again. She thinks her fingers might be digging in too hard, but she doesn’t care, and neither does he. She kisses him, exploring the contours of his mouth. It has been far too long since she has last had this experience.
They work their way over to the sofa. She lets herself pull away so that her fingertips only cling to hers, and she settles herself on it, giving him a burning smile.
He accepts her invitation, pulling off his clothes while she carefully removes her shirt, breaking their contact for an instant before reconnecting. He moves toward her, and she can feel his hard stomach muscles. She wraps one arm around him and feels his chest with another, again marveling at the muscles there. He works with his hands behind her back to unfasten her bra; she feels it fall off as the kiss becomes slightly more triumphant.
With that article of clothing removed, he moves down to carefully slip her out of her jeans. He plays with the lace adorning her panties before he pulls those down, too. He kisses the hair there, and for the thousandth time she thinks about how much she has missed this – but also how much she is looking forward to their future that she is determined they will have.
She can feel his hard cock, but can also see the determination in his eyes to make up for those months of confusion, where she wondered whether he was with someone else. He wants to prove to her that she is all that he wants, she realizes.
His fingers move tantalizingly, working wonders, and she moans loudly. He stays there for what could be seconds or years, watching her want him, before finally, unable to hold back any longer, he pulls a condom out of his pocket – she wonders if he knew that this meeting would end this way, or only hoped fervently that it would, just as she did – and pulls it on before he enters her.
It is smooth; the separation of one month has not made them rusty. She raises herself to meet him, and he thrusts, and then again and again; she is brought to orgasm as he continues to do so, feeling that uncontrollable tossing of emotion and pleasure that bursts into existence, that makes her feel afloat and loved and beautiful.
One month later, it is different, now, but Leah doesn’t think that it’s necessarily better or worse. Sam tells her as much as he can, now, and at least she understands – but there are days when she longs for the simplicity they used to have, without the secrets. Nevertheless, she thinks, the sex has improved drastically. That’s one thing to be thankful for.
Every day, he makes it a point to tell her that he loves her. He says it so truthfully that it touches her, every time, and she thinks that even with his secrets that somehow they will find a way to make it all succeed, just through the sheer strength of their love for each other.
She has gleaned several things from him: that he doesn’t age, exactly, and that he is something more than human. She has learned that he is dangerous when he is angry, though he is getting more talented at controlling himself. Whenever he tries to tell her more, he stops himself – it as if his throat literally constricts. He says that he will find a way, however, and Leah believes him.
It is the day that Emily comes to visit – and also the day before Sam’s graduation from high school – that everything changes. He had told her he was going to stay here in La Push, and that he would be here for support during her senior year. He had flashed her a charming smile when he said ‘support,’ and she had understood his line of thinking.
Emily pulls up in front of Leah’s house in her new car, excited to show it off. Sam is waiting in the kitchen, as Leah opens the door. “Sam’s here,” she whispers to Emily, who giggles.
“So, you patched things up, then? I always knew you would,” she says back, also in a low voice.
Leah nods, and Sam comes into view, a smile on his face that suddenly turns to bewilderment and then raging, unquenchable desire.
She watches it all occur in slow motion as Sam strides across the room to Emily and gives her that intense, burning look that used to belong solely to Leah. Emily, to her credit, looks puzzled as she backs away; Leah shoots her a look that tells her to leave, now. She does so; memories of Leah’s temper as a child are enough to make Emily still a little bit afraid of her.
“What’s happened, Sam?” she asks dully, though in her heart she already knows. She knows that Sam has always been faithful to her before – despite what she once believed to the contrary – but she can sense from the look on his face that he cannot hold true to that any longer. Even though he may not physically betray her, his thoughts are certainly no longer with her. It’s more than just finding Emily attractive, Leah can see. It’s something almost like love, and she can’t quite understand it, but she knows it’s there.
He gives her a look filled to the brim with anguish. His eyes follow Emily as she moves toward her car. “Leah, I’m so sorry,” he murmurs, taking an involuntary step toward the door.
“Please,” she says, “just stay.” There is still just enough hope in her that makes her believe this is just some onset of illness – something that can be cured.
They lasted over two years, she wants to shout at him. They lasted over two years when all of their other friends were having hook-ups and later, one-night stands. Isn’t there some loyalty there, at all?
He watches Emily pull out of the driveway, and only once she is out of sight does he give his full attention to Leah. His vision clears slightly, and he blinks. She has the irrational belief that maybe things will return to the way they are supposed to be.
“Kiss me,” she pleads.
He looks uncertain, and she hates that, but after a moment’s hesitation, he leans in and meets her lips with his. His arms move as if they want to circle around her, before, after just a second, he jumps back as if burned.
“It’s wrong,” he mutters.
This is too much for her; she can accept that some male instinct is making him want to fuck her second cousin and former best friend; she cannot believe that what they have is anything but right. She wants to shout at him again, to throw things, in some strange repeating of history. It is the same thing, isn’t it? Because of his secrets, they cannot be together.
But it isn’t the same, because this is permanent. They cannot work around this, and it is something she cannot forgive him for, once he inevitably acts on his instincts. Leah backs away, fighting her every cell in her body that tells her to fling things at him, tell him that he's a fucking bastard and never meant anything to her in the first place. It isn’t that she doesn’t want to arouse his anger, for although she is aware of the danger, it doesn’t seem real to her in the way that this separation is real. She just doesn’t want to look at him a moment longer.
This isn’t like last time, she thinks as she walks up the stairs, not daring to glance at him, because there is no going back.